Quakers have historically rejected symbolism, the observance of special days, and other ceremonies and forms as human inventions. They regard such ceremonies and forms as unnecessary when individual believers can experience the Spirit of God directly. In addition, they believe avoidance of such externals protects believers from the idolatry into which humankind so easily falls.
Sadly the Indians came to be regarded as wards of the Government, and it became national policy to place them on specified reservations. The missionaries sent out by Eastern societies were the only groups sympathetic to this maltreatment and they tried to help by building schools, churches, and clinics.
The progress of democracy contributed to the on-going proliferation of different sects in America.
Within ten years about sixty preachers were imitating Fox. Few leaders of high standing joined them, except for William Penn, an admiral’s son, who was able to plant a Quaker colony in America in 1681. From here the Quakers carried their message through the colonies. In parts of the South, they were the most popular of the religious sects. Their idiosyncrasies, however, annoyed the Puritans of Boston so much that several persons were hung after a sentence of banishment had failed to dispose of them. In the Middle colonies, they became one of the most respectable and prosperous elements in society.
John Greenleaf Whittier, commonly known as the “Quaker Poet,” was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1807. Beginning life as a farm boy and village shoemaker, and with only a limited education, he entered the profession of journalism in 1828.
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), commonly known as the “Quaker Poet,” was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Beginning life as a farm boy and village shoemaker, and with only a limited education, he entered the profession of journalism in 1828.
George Fox (1624-1691) was the founder of the Society of Friends or Quakers, Fox was born in Leicestershire, England, the son of a Puritan weaver.
Bernard Barton was born in London in 1784 and was educated at a Quaker school in Ipswich.
The silent meeting for worship is the most visible element of classical Quaker worship. Worshipers assemble without leader or program, stilling their minds and focusing their attention, waiting to sense the presence of the Spirit of God and then to respond as they are moved in their own spirits.